Glendale Public Library To Host ‘Why Pronouns Matter’ Event Funded By Taxpayers

Glendale Public Library To Host ‘Why Pronouns Matter’ Event Funded By Taxpayers

By Corinne Murdock |

The Foothills Library plans to host a “He/She/They: Why Pronouns Matter” event next week with funding from the Arizona State Library and Arizona Humanities.

The Arizona State Library is a division of Secretary of State Adrian Fontes’ office; Arizona Humanities is a nonprofit affiliate of the independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

According to the event summary, the pronouns lecture will focus on defining pronouns, the relations between pronouns and gender identity, and explaining various gender identities. The library rated the event as for adults on their events calendar. 

The event is one in a series of “FRANK Talks,” produced in partnership with Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library.

There are 14 FRANK Talks topics across categories of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI); Civics; Education; and Environment. “He/She/They: Why Pronouns Matter” is categorized as a DEI topic, along with:

  • “Decolonizing Beauty: Who is Considered Beautiful?”: a critique of the privileges and advantages given to “Western standards of beauty” defined as “blondness, fairness, blue-eyes, and slender figures (in women).” 
  • “What Does Language Tell Us About Society?”: how to ensure respect and inclusivity in language related to social categories of gender and race. 
  • “Jocks and Nerds: Stereotypes in Our Everyday Lives”: how to recognize and prevent the stereotypes that lead to both conscious and unconscious, or implicit, biases.
  • “The Road to Inequity: Understanding the Wealth Gap”: a historical review of federal policies and discriminatory practices, such as redlining and the “current gender wage gap,” that persist today in the form of social and economic inequities, and how to practice equity (not equality) to counter those systems.
  • “Then and Now: What is White Nationalism?” (virtual only): defining and identifying modern white nationalism, or white supremacy, groups and individuals.
  • “What Happens When Social Movements and Social Justice Collide?” (virtual only): discussing the importance of social justice movements like Black Lives Matter (BLM), LGBTQ+, and #MeToo, as well as concepts like intersectionality.

The speaker for next week’s pronouns lecture is listed as FRANK Talks host Erick Tanchez. Tanchez is a self-described “Queer Xicano” that identifies both as a “he” and a “they.” Tanchez has served as a program specialist for Maricopa County Community Colleges and president of Equality Maricopa. 

Tanchez is an Arizona State University (ASU) alumni, where he served as the executive director of CollegetownUSA@ASU, the college program of the national anti-gun and social justice group, Anytown USA. 

Tanchez also hosts speeches for the FRANK Talks topic “Undocumented Americans: Who Gets to Go to College?”, in which he advocates for the equal treatment of illegal immigrants in college admissions.

The other FRANK Talk speakers are Kaari Aubrey, founder of a LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-only digital publishing company and former teacher; Andrea Christelle, vice provost for research at  the Navajo Nation’s Diné College, founder of Philosophy in the Public Interest at Northern Arizona University; Derek Keith, a senior project manager at Arizona State University’s (ASU) Learning Enterprise responsible for internal DEI committees and trainings, and a former California educator who incorporated diversity and social justice into curriculum through courses like Social Justice literature; Mathew Nevarez, board member for the Alhambra Elementary School, alumni of AZ Leading For Change Fellowship; Gail Rhodes, PhD student and adjunct professor at ASU, former reporter for Fox Sports Network; Matthew C. Whitaker, founder of the ASU Center for the Study of Race and Democracy; and R.J. Shannon, a community activist with involvement including the founding of Healing Racism, former board membership for the Arizona ACLU, chairmanship and state liaisonship of the local committee for the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action, and planner for an indigenous LGBTQ+ conference.

On Wednesday, Arizona Humanities also hosted “The Art of Drag,” featuring Arizona State University (ASU) English professor and Drag Story Hour president David Boyles to discuss the history of drag and the experiences of modern drag performers.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Glendale Voters To Decide Fate Of GPLET

Glendale Voters To Decide Fate Of GPLET

By Daniel Stefanski |

Glendale voters might soon have the future of a billion-dollar resort in their hands.

Worker Power Institute, a nonprofit and social welfare 501(c)(4) organization, announced that it had obtained the necessary signatures to refer the city’s and resort’s Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) arrangements to the ballot.

Over 5,500 signatures were collected, and both Glendale and Maricopa County notified parties that this referendum was eligible for the ballot. The 60-acre VAI Resort and Mattel Adventure Park is expected to be completed in 2024 and to add 1,800 jobs.

The Glendale City Council will now decide when its municipality’s voters will see this referendum on the ballot.

Before the news of the successful signature drive, Brendan Walsh, the Worker Power Institute’s Executive Director, said, “If there is one thing all developers hoping to build in Arizona should know, it’s that Arizona voters believe in fairness. And the unrestrained and unnecessary use of GPLETs is not playing fair. If developers want property tax breaks, then voters will want to see that they are getting real community benefits. I see the work we are doing as allowing voters the opportunity to have a say in how the cities they live in are built.”

GPLET agreements have been fairly common in the state – and increasingly controversial as more attention comes to these respective arrangements. Last year, the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute fought one of these episodes in the City of Phoenix with the Hubbard Street Group and plans for private real estate development.

As explained by Goldwater, “Utilizing the GPLET abatements provisions of Arizona law, the City has agreed to accept title to the Hubbard Project so that the property becomes ‘government property,’ and thus excluded from the tax rolls. Under this arrangement, the City then leases the property back to Hubbard, who controls and manages the property during the lease just as the developer would any other private business. Yet through use of the GPLET, Hubbard will pay no property taxes on the private development for eight years, while other Arizona taxpayers – in Phoenix and beyond – will be forced to shoulder the difference. At the end of the 8-year lease, the City conveys the property back to the developer. In other words, under this arrangement, private property is conveyed to the government while in reality being owned and operated by a private party for the sole purpose of evading property taxes that would otherwise be owed and to which other taxpayers are subject.”

The Goldwater Institute added, “This arrangement results in tax shifts from the private party receiving the subsidy to other taxpayers who do not. It also creates unfair competitive advantages for Hubbard, who can compete with similar businesses not only with its own resources but with those of Phoenix taxpayers.”

The differing GPLET agreements vary in size and length. While the Phoenix-Hubbard arrangement was for eight years and $7.9 million, the Glendale resort project is likely to be significantly larger. According to a report, “the previous agreement with the developer’s former owners had a valuation of $30 million in exchange for $240 million in tax revenue over the term of the incentives.” The term for Glendale would be 25 years.

The Worker Power Institute was previously credited with helping to take down the Arizona Coyotes’ move to Tempe and the proposed $2.1 billion entertainment district. In this rejected scenario, there appeared to be two GPLETs – one for eight years and one for 30 years, in order to make the hockey team’s move a reality.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Water Conservation Has Taxpayers Paying More For Less In Cities Across The State

Water Conservation Has Taxpayers Paying More For Less In Cities Across The State

By Corinne Murdock |

More of Arizona’s municipalities are increasing their water conservation efforts, leading taxpayers to pay more for less.

Preexisting sustainability goals and the burgeoning Colorado River drought have offered justification for these municipalities’ efforts, which have now resulted in lawn bans, increased water rates, and restricted water usage over the last few years. 

Multiple cities recently traded in their Colorado River water rights in exchange for federal funding: Tucson, Phoenix, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Mesa, Surprise, Queen Creek, along with the state, Apache Junction Domestic Water Improvement District, Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District, Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District in Tucson, Salt River Project, and EPCOR.

Last month, Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) ban on the construction of new Phoenix homes that would rely on groundwater. 

These progressive restrictions and charges also continue despite noted successes in conservation in comparison to past years with smaller populations.

The answer may lie with other developments in the state over the years. Big Tech’s data centers may be one of the major drains on water supply outweighing the net savings of residents’ water conservation efforts.


In comparison to the other cities, Mesa doesn’t impose major water conservation restrictions. It does offer $1,000 in rebates for grass removal, with an additional $100 maximum for planting native trees. 

However, the city may be contributing to the water burdens faced by its neighbors. In 2019, it approved the development of a data center for Google that could use one to four million gallons of water daily. Arizona residents average about 146 gallons daily currently.

Yet, as Time pointed out, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMUA) — an organization that Mesa helped found — chastised Arizona residents several weeks after the deal between Mesa and Google for using 120 gallons on average daily.

Meta (formerly Facebook, which also owns Instagram) is now building a data center there as well. The year they broke ground in Arizona, they promised to be “water positive” — meaning, restoring more water than they consume — by 2030. 

Like Google centers, data centers could use around one to five million gallons of water a day according to Texas Tech University’s Water Resources Center director, Venkatesh Uddameri. 

Microsoft also operates data centers out of El Mirage and Goodyear. They made the same promise to be water positive by 2030.

Over 30 percent of the world’s data centers are located in the U.S.


Scottsdale banned lawns on new builds earlier this month.

The city also offers to pay residents up to $5,000 for lawn removals, and up to $1 per square foot of water surface area plus $400 for pool or spa removals. For multifamily properties, homeowner associations (HOAs), and commercial businesses, the city offered up to $40,000 to remove their lawns, with an additional $10,000 bonus for grass strips adjacent to streets.

Since Scottsdale launched its rebate program in 1992, total rebates amounted to over $4.7 million; about half of which came from grass removals. The city has removed 94 acres of grass since the program’s launch. This fiscal year’s rebate budget sits at $450,000.

Last September, Scottsdale banned HOAs from requiring overseeding lawns. 

Residents surpassed the city’s goal of 10 percent water conservation, achieving 12 percent over the last two years.


Last month, Tucson banned lawns and reduced water flow in new constructions. The city also required all new residential dwelling units to include piping for a separate discharge of gray water for direct irrigation: the untreated, leftover water from washing machines, bathtubs, and sinks. 

In 2008, Tucson required all commercial development and site plans to include a rainwater harvesting plan that provided for 50 percent of the annual landscape water supply.

In 2014, Tucson passed a water waste ordinance fining individuals $250 on the first offense and $500 on subsequent offenses up to $2,500 for allowing water to escape or pool onto public property; washing driveways, sidewalks, parking areas with a hose (unless a residential customer); operating a misting system in unoccupied non-residential areas; having an irrigation head or emitter that’s broken or spraying more than 10 percent onto a street, parking lot, or sidewalk; failing to control a leak; and failing to meet the 50 percent rainwater harvesting requirement for landscape irrigation. 

Tucson also offers multiple rebates: $100 per residential, multi-family, or commercial premium high-efficiency toilet; $150 for a flushometer valve/bowl combination; $200 for high-efficiency or water-free urinal installation; $100 or $200 for a residential high-efficiency clothes washer; up to $2,000 for a residential rainwater harvesting system; and up to $1,000 for a gray water system. The city also offers special incentives for low-income residents: free high-efficiency toilets, grants up to $1,000 and loans up to $2,000 for a rainwater harvesting system, grants and loans up to $500 for a gray water harvesting system, discounted high-efficiency clothes washers, and free plumbing repairs. 

Each year, Tucson makes available up to $250,000 in grant money to establish stormwater harvesting in neighborhoods.


Last month, the Phoenix City Council approved the Sustainable Desert Development Policy, requiring rezoning cases on new developments to satisfy city-approved standards on EPA WaterSense efficiency certifications; drought tolerant and/or native landscaping; restrictions on turf usage; outdoor irrigation efficiency standards; green infrastructure or low-impact development provisions for surface parking areas, streets, and sidewalks; participation in the city’s Efficiency Checkup program; new swimming pool standards; new wet-cooling system standards; and preservation of natural open spaces.

Additionally, the policy will require any entities that use over 250,000 gallons of water per day to submit a water conservation plan, approved by city staff. Any entities that use over 500,000 gallons of water per day must derive 30 percent of their water consumption from a recycled or conserved water source.

Entities dubbed “large water users,” may be denied operation even if their conservation plan is acceptable to the city. The policy stated that the city may reject the large water user if there’s inadequate water resource availability in their proposed location, inconsistency with the city’s planning documents; undesirable economic value and impact of their proposed water use; undesirable impact to water rates; or incompatibility with the city’s definition of a key industry beneficial to the economy.

The city doesn’t offer any rebate programs, though last December city officials expressed a desire to launch one to incentivize lawn removals. The city signed a joint pledge between locales in California and Nevada to remove ornamental turf. 

The city also imposes an ordinance onto new developers, the Water Resources Acquisition Fee (WRAF) ordinance, which may be mitigated via credit if the developer provides a permanent reduction in annual water demand on the city. 

The city has promised that it won’t institute mandatory water use restrictions in the near future, though it warned that severe or worsening drought conditions within the next 10-15 years may warrant such restrictions. Policy changes could include water waste punishments similar to Tucson’s, requiring child safe pool covers to reduce evaporation, banning turf irrigation, and banning car washing.


Flagstaff has stricter water use requirements than some of the other Arizona cities. 

The city has a watering allowance schedule during which residents may water their landscape: even-numbered addresses on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and odd-numbered addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Nobody may water on Mondays, and the city prohibits watering between 9 am and 5 pm. Gardeners wishing to water by hand — “incidental hand watering” — may do so on any day, except from 9 am to 5 pm. However, vehicle washing is not subject to the water schedule restrictions. 

The schedule is only permitted to be used when the city is at the first stages of burdened water demand. At level two, the city bans irrigation; car washing at home; driveway, sidewalk, and tennis court washing; filling of fountains, ponds, streams, or pools over 100 gallons. The city also increases water rates for those using over 6,400 gallons, and potable standpipe rates increase by 130 percent. At level three, potable water use is banned outside.

Those who violate the rules within any of the three levels are subject to fines starting at $25, doubling with each violation.

The city implements a diverse set of rebate programs. Commercial properties may receive free high-efficiency sink aerators, free high-efficiency shower heads, free pre-rinse spray valves, $86 rebate or 50 percent of project cost for commercial toilets, $158 or 50 percent of project cost for hotel toilets; and $157 or 50 percent of the project cost for commercial urinals.

Both residential and commercial properties may receive a rebate at 25 cents per square foot for converting to low-water landscaping. They may also receive a $100 rebate on installation of a rainwater harvesting system with 1000-gallon minimum capacity, and free 55-gallon rainwater harvesting barrels.

The city reported that their conservation efforts, beginning in 1988, have yielded a 50 percent water use reduction.


The town of Gilbert is offering up to $800 to residents and up to $3,000 to non-residential customers who swap their lawns for desert landscaping that uses less water. The city set aside $60,000 for the residential program, and $15,000 for the non-residential program. 

A Gilbert spokesperson told AZ Free News that they have a total of $120,000 per year to issue on their rebate programs, and that the allocated funding within that budget may change from year to year based on the popularity of each program.

Anyone who receives $600 or more in water bill credits must complete a W9 for the Gilbert Water Conservation, as per the Biden administration IRS reporting requirement enacted last year.

Those aren’t the only water conservation financial incentives that Gilbert has offered. The town introduced rebates up to $250 for residential, $400 for non-residential properties to install smart irrigation controllers.

In May, the town applied for a $3 million grant from the Water Conservation Fund to replace grass on government property with desert-tolerant landscaping. The grant money ultimately comes from federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Gilbert announced that it saved 254 million gallons due to its conservation efforts in 2019, and 375 million in 2018.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Officials Around Arizona Recognize Youth Stepping Up For Military Service

Officials Around Arizona Recognize Youth Stepping Up For Military Service

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction shared a helpful announcement about a new feature for high school students seeking information about careers in the U.S. military.

In a release sent last week, the Arizona Department of Education revealed that it had “unveiled a one-stop service to help students interested in a military career get information about the U.S. armed forces.” The website – – was established so that “students can get essential information about the various branches of the service.”

Horne, a Republican, issued a statement in conjunction with the announcement, saying, “With a historic shortfall of U.S. military recruiting goals, Arizona high schools need to do as much as possible to help students get the information they need to learn if a career in the armed services is an appropriate choice for them. Serving our country is an honorable endeavor and our nation will depend on the next generation of those who enlist or become officer candidates so that our military can continue to defend our freedoms.”

The release highlighted that “the need for this effort was presented to state schools chief Tom Horne earlier this year by Raif Byers, a now-graduated Phoenix-area high school senior who was unable to find helpful and detailed information about a military career on the websites for his high school or the district he attends. He found that many other students his age have the same problem.”

Byers added, “I was trying to learn more about a career in the Navy when I was in high school, but it was nearly impossible for me to find any information on my school district website. It’s relatively easy to learn about other types of careers, so I believe it’s just as vital for schools to make armed services information readily available to students. Unfortunately, I learned that in many districts, that’s just not the case. I’m very grateful to Superintendent Horne for creating this webpage where anyone in the state can easily learn about a career serving our country.”

According to the Arizona Department of Education, “the webpage includes links to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Air National Guard. It also has details about the various military benefits and information for those interested in becoming officers or enlisted personnel.”

Horne’s efforts join several other similar endeavors from public officials around the state, who are very active in promoting opportunities in the U.S. Military or honoring those who serve. Recently, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers “partnered with local sponsors to host the Mayor’s Military Induction Ceremony” at a Phoenix-area church – with over 350 recruits!

In May, two in Arizona’s congressional delegation, Andy Biggs and Eli Crane, co-hosted a Military Service Academy Conference to give high school students more information about opportunities to learn more information about future military service and career opportunities.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

City Of Phoenix Gives NFL Authority To Quash Residents’ Free Speech

City Of Phoenix Gives NFL Authority To Quash Residents’ Free Speech

By Terri Jo Neff |

Although Super Bowl LVII will be played in Glendale, the residents, property owners, and business owners in downtown Phoenix must obtain permission from the NFL to place temporary signage on their own property before and after the big game. 

Phoenix city officials passed Resolution 22073 earlier this year to designate nearly all of downtown as a Special Promotional and Civic Event Area in connection with the Super Bowl game being played at State Farm Stadium on Feb. 12.

The NFL has planned several pregame events at venues across the area, including downtown Phoenix. As a result, a little publicized provision of the city’s resolution restricts “all temporary signage” unless approved by city staff, the NFL, and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

“In other words, the city has banned hundreds of businesses, and thousands of residents, from speaking freely without permission from the government and two of the government’s handpicked entities,” explains John Thorpe, an attorney for the Goldwater Institute which is fighting back on the constitutional restriction.

Thorpe sent a letter on behalf of a Phoenix property owner to City Attorney Julie Kriegh last week demanding an end to the unconstitutional free speech restrictions.  

“The ordinance also violates constitutional guarantees regarding due process and improper delegation of government power by broadly authorizing two private entities—the NFL and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee—to regulate private citizens’ speech with unfettered discretion and no procedural safeguards,” Thorpe wrote.

The signage restriction went into effect Nov. 1 with no fanfare from city officials. It remains in effect until Feb. 19, 2023, a full week after the Super Bowl. The Goldwater Institute became involved after Bramley Paulin sought to work with city officials so he could post temporary signage to advertise that his property is available to be leased.

Instead, Paulin was informed the property is within the “Clean Zone” covered by the Special Promotional and Civic Event Area. As a result, he cannot utilize the signage without authorization from the NFL and the host committee.

The city’s actions have already imposed substantial harm on Paulin, Thorpe told the city attorney. The letter seeks assurance that Paulin or his representatives may advertise on his property “without unreasonable restriction and without any input or review by the NFL or the Super Bowl Host Committee.”

It is unclear how city officials believe such an overreaching censorship deal is legal, let alone in the best interest of its residents. It does not appear that such restrictions were implemented in Inglewood, California during this year’s Super Bowl.

And there is no record of such restrictions back in 2015 when the Super Bowl was last played in Arizona, also in Glendale at what is now known as State Farm Stadium.

Thorpe acknowledges that hosting Super Bowl festivities is an exciting opportunity for many Arizonans, but he argues no benefits of any sporting event should come at the cost of forcing Arizonans to surrender their constitutional rights.

“And decisions about the free expression rights of downtown residents should not be delegated to unaccountable private parties,” he added.

AZ Free News has reached out for a comment about the free speech restrictions from Fox Sports and the Westwood One radio network, which are broadcasting Super Bowl LVII. A similar request was sent to Apple Music, the sponsor of the halftime show, as well as Roc Nation Management which represents Super Bowl halftime performer Rihanna.

No responses were received by press time.

Terri Jo Neff is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or send her news tips here.