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.


A $500 Fine

Roger Matlin got a $500 fine as his “sentence” today for disorderly conduct following a GY council meeting about a year ago. GY probably spent more than that on the prosecution just sending “witnesses” and “victims” there since Luizi was there again today and he and Dalke were there for the trial as well.
Roger and his attorney appealed his conviction before they left the courthouse.
Gelzer felt compelled to speak some nonsense in open court to the judge about “political agendas” before the sentencing. Only Gary knows what that had to do with another man’s sentencing. Gelzer attended the trial as well. Who knows why he did that either. Your tax dollars at work.

Lots to Do; Some People Are Asking for Your Help

Some EASY jobs for you.

1. Over 600 people read Chris Lovett’s email yesterday to Georgia suggesting she appoint, ahem… me, as GY City Manager.  How many sent Chris’s email to Georgia & Co.? Read it again here => gggirlemail

2. Send an email to Roger Matlin’s lawyer by Wednesday as directed in this post;  Free Roger so we can get Roger a fair sentence on Thursday.

3. This from Wendy Freeman of Goodyear Votes. HB2826 is in committee in the AZ legislature RIGHT NOW. This legislation will require cities like Goodyear to move their elections to November so that we can get more voter turnout and less special interest influence in local elections.  Here are the email addresses for the committee members for HB2826 to email to and just put “Vote Yes on HB2826” in the subject line and send it.

Senator Allen      
Senator McComish
Senator Biggs    
Sentator Pierce  
Thanks for helping make our city better.

City Claims Mostly Rejected in Pendleton Case; $50 Million Plus in Problems Brought to Taxpayers by Incompetent City Management and High Handed Mayor and City Council

There are lots of lawsuits against the city of Goodyear. Recent settlements and expected claims from just 5 of these could approach $50 million. Goodyear has annual REVENUES of only about $60 million each year. Five lawsuits, nearly an entire year’s revenues. Here is a summary of the big 5;

  1. The Wood Family who used to own the land that the ball park sits on just settled for $1.1 million after the city spent over $400,000 to try to make them go away. Why would you spend $400,000 just to settle for $1.1 million a few years later?
  2. Roger Matlin is suing the city for up to $9 million for his arrest on what he says were trumped up politically motivated, “disturbing the peace” charges.
  3. Shea Pendleton is suing for $27 million in a wrongful death claim against the city. (see below)
  4. Terry Woodmansee is suing for several million for wrongful discharge. Woodmansee
  5. John Rowan has not filed any claims yet but he is on deck to sue after the former assistant to the GY chief of police was fired after coming forward to question the Pendleton investigation. Rowan

What does that say about what kind of job your city council and current city management are doing? Not much (but there is hope at the end of this article).

And is Goodyear trying to settle any of these? They don’t seem to be. Not even the complete waste of time dispute GY is having with Roger Matlin, whose crime was supposedly “disturbing the peace” because he wanted to talk to a former fireman at a city council meeting who was engaged in another conversation with one of Goodyear’s many deputy city managers. Instead of spending the money to prosecute poor Roger and have a $9 million lawsuit still hanging overhead, don’t you think GY made whatever point they wanted to make with Roger by arresting him and bringing the case to trial? I’m sure they could have settled for lawyers costs with Roger if they had offered to end the prosecution.

But Georgia Lord and her team of incompetents on city council push on. Their way or the highway. During the prison debacle they grandstanded by passing a politically motivated ordinance saying they would defend against a prison being built, “at any cost” even though everyone knew that Goodyear had little legal standing at the end of the day if the Department of Corrections had decided to build here. The threat of a lawsuit did not deter Corrections, Goodyear’s residents’ voices did. And if Georgia had told prison company GEO from the start that Goodyear was not interested when they approached the city months earlier it would have never gotten to that. GEO would have gone elsewhere. Georgia seems to like the lime light, she thinks puffed up “I’m tougher than you” ordinances are the way to political salvation, and she seems to like suing people and being sued too.

Just like the whole Pendelton case. Who knows what happened there? We may never know. But all sides agree that there were BIG mistakes made by the police department which led to the uncertainty. And former GY Police Chief Mark Brown testified that Fischbach and the GY top management team at the time knew about the problems with the Pendleton accident only about ONE WEEK after the accident happened back in April 2008.

Leadership and proper management at the time could have fixed it then. Two employees came forward and said something needed to be done. Goodyear should have fixed it then but they didn’t. If they had fixed it then, there would not be lawsuits going on now from two former discharged police employees (Woodmansee and Rowan) nor a lawsuit from Pendleton’s mother. Instead, Goodyear has stonewalled the entire Pendleton affair and played hard ball all the way.

Sound like Georgia and the incompetents again to you? This is your money being spent by their poor leadership and missmangement.

Now, in a US District Court decision, most of Goodyear’s claims to have the Pendleton case dismissed have been rejected. Here are the details;

Shea Pendleton’s $27 million wrongful death law suit against the city of Goodyear is going forward based upon recent rulings by US District Court Judge John W. Sedwick. The city of Goodyear’s attempt to have Shea Pendleton’s law suit against the city and other defendants including Brad Hardin dismissed was mostly rejected by Judge Sedwick.

Instead, Sedwick agreed with Pendleton that most of the claims she has made deserve resolution in court and that her lawsuit should proceed and that a jury should decide the outcome.

Goodyear had argued that;

  1. the facts were not disputed in the case. The US District Court disagreed.
  2. there was no evidence that Hardin caused Pendleton’s death. The court disagreed.
  3. there was no evidence that Hardin may have acted recklessly. The court disagreed.
  4. that the city was not negligent. The court disagreed.
  5. that there was no evidence of a conspiracy following Pendleton’s death and that the plaintiffs did not identify an underlying tort or wrongful act. The court agreed that no tort was identified and dismissed this claim against the city.
  6. that the plaintiff did not show that their constitutional rights were violated by any city policies or lack of training. The court agreed.
  7. that the statue of limitations had expired on Pendleton’s claims against the city. The court disagreed.

Here is the entire ruling. summary judgement

The only good news is that there is a way to solve these problems and more in the city of Goodyear;

422 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 elections; May 15, 2013.

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?

Arrest Warrants Issued in Goodyear for Brewer and Obama?

In this town, some feel that this could really happen. Thanks to a reader for the suggestion.

The Goodyear, Arizona Police Department issued felony assault and disorderly conduct arrest warrants for Jan Brewer and Barack Obama today based upon their chilling encounter on the tarmac yesterday in Phoenix.

“He clearly touched her elbow,” stated interim fire chief/interim assistant city manager/interim Roger Matlin victim Paul Luizzi, “and he may have even tried to ‘lead her away’ which as we have shown in our town has felony implications.”  “I had flashbacks when I saw the photo in the paper today of my encounter with mass disorderly conduct-or Roger Matlin,” Luizzi added.  “And furthermore I had bad dreams again last night about the entire sordid Matlin affair” he said.

“She was pointing at him! She was pointing at him! She was pointing at him! And I think she may have touched him,” witness extraordinaire and Assistant City Manager and Chief Tattletale Brian Dalke added.  Dalke was working behind the scenes later to make certain everyone in the city had their stories straight.

“We’re going after them, and we will not leave one stone unturned in our expected several month investigation and pursuit of justice”, added GY’s new police chief at the direction of emails from city council, (for which I will now have to submit a records request because they clearly violate Arizona open meeting laws). “No one besides a few GY city employees heard any disturbance at the council meeting  in the Matlin case, so just because there were jet engines running that prevented us from hearing what Brewer and Obama actually said to each other won’t matter either, ” he added.

“I have experience in these matters, and disorderly conduct will not be tolerated in our city,” added Fischbach with emphasis.

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